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Hundreds phoning Government Flood Helpline

July 23 2004

Hundreds phoning Government Flood Helpline

The joint agency Government Flood Helpline has received more than 700 calls in the first five days of operation since the Bay of Plenty Floods.

Work and Income General Manager National Operations Liz Jones said the freephone had been busy taking a variety of calls. Many were asking for information about the types of financial assistance available and housing issues.

“Work and Income had given out over $100,000 in flood assistance to more than 500 people since Monday,” she said.

The Government Flood Helpline, co-ordinated by Work and Income, offers flood and earthquake victims information on what assistance they may be eligible for, and can refer callers to all Government agencies.

It is open from 7am-8pm weekdays and 8am-1pm Saturday and Sunday. “The helpline will be operating for some time to assist those affected by flooding and slips,” Liz Jones said.

Work and Income’s Regional Commissioner for the Bay of Plenty, Carl Crafar, said the department’s service centres and the Recovery Centres operating at Whakatane and Edgecumbe had been very busy.

“We are encouraging people to phone in to find out what assistance is available or offer accommodation before they go to the Recovery Centres at Work and Income service centres in the area,” he said.

Organisations accepting financial donations include Red Cross 0800-733-27677 (RED CROSS) or 0900 33 100 to make an automatic $20 donation; the Mayoral Relief Fund at any branch of the BNZ; and the Radio 1XX Relief Fund at any branch of the ANZ in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

ENDS

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